3rd Grade Practices Genius Hour Presentation

This week, the 3rd graders practiced introducing their Genius Hour video about Coral Reefs and the accompanying Scratch video game they created so they can present it to their homeroom classes.

3rd Grade Works on Saving the Coral Reefs

With their Genius Hour research completed, the 3rd graders have begun working on their presentation with the hope of persuading more kids to help save the coral reefs.  They decided to make a video game using Scratch programming that will teach kids facts about the coral reef and the things that damage it.  So far, the game has been a great collaborative effort from the students, and they are branching out this week to add some more details from home.

What We Did in Genius Hour

Photo Feb 12, 1 30 43 PM

This is a “special edition” blog post from Keaton, Emmett, and Aiden.  Their Genius Hour challenge was to write a blog post about what they did yesterday!  

Keaton Emmett and I learned how to switch levels. We made drawings and sketches to put into the video game. We looked around the room for inspiration. We learned that there is no gravity setting in the game. I added a new sprite to our game. We also figured out how to move the monkey up and down. Finally, Emmett, Keaton and I made our second level.

4th Grade Participates in the Hour of Code – For a Few Hours!

This blog post is brought to you by Athasi:

Today in GT we participated in Hour of Code! Except instead of one hour of code, we did a full GT  class of code! We split the class in half, and one half did Scratch, and the other half did Hopscotch, and then we switched. Scratch is a free website created by M.I.T., where you can create programs, and share them with other people. Hopscotch is very similar to Scratch, except it’s an app for the iPad. When we were doing Scratch, we were supposed to create a holiday card. When we were doing Hopscotch, we were supposed to make an object disappear  and make another one become bigger when we clapped. At the end of the class, Mrs. Eichholtz told us that she might set up a programming station. I am very excited about this, because I really enjoyed today’s class.

If the embedded video below does not show, click here for an example of one of our Scratch Holiday cards!

Saturday’s SparkFun Class

Wow! I was blown away to see so many people I know at the SparkFun class this past Saturday! I’m sure that Hidden Forest had the most representatives (if you include former students). Thanks to everyone who was able to participate. For those of you who were unable to come, I think we will definitely be incorporating some of what was learned into class – at least for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.

The class was about using the free programming language, Scratch. Scratch can be downloaded for free to your computer, or you can use it online. It is very “child-friendly.” Depending on your child’s interest level, it could probably used from age 7 and up.

The class also provided the students with PicoBoards. These boards can be plugged into your computer through the USB port, and they have sensors. With a little bit of programming knowledge, you can get them to interact with your Scratch program. However, my daughter and I learned that it seems to only work with the downloaded Scratch 1.4 version (not 2.0 or the online version).

I learned a lot, and the kids seemed very engaged. My daughter spent a couple of hours on Sunday writing a new program, so I was happy to see her applying what she had learned. The combination of creativity and logic involved in writing programs really makes this a great activity for learners!